SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA TO LAUNCH PLAYSTATION®2 NETWORK STRATEGY IN AUGUST 2002
Company Kicks Off Initial Online Gaming Initiative With Release of Network Adaptor that Combines High-Speed Broadband Access with Analog Connectivity
As console gaming is historically a mainstream proposition, the company will initiate a unique approach to the online gaming market specific to PlayStation 2 that is consumer friendly and content driven, requiring little investment and offering the newest features and gameplay. Consumers with an in-home Internet Service Provider (ISP) account and the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/Modem) (for PlayStation® 2) will be able to play friends and rivals across the Internet via PlayStation 2 games specifically designed to take advantage of this capability.
In keeping with the open environment of the Internet, Sony Computer Entertainment America's approach to PlayStation 2 connectivity will encourage the creative community to drive and determine content offerings.
After firmly establishing PlayStation 2 as a mass-market platform, Sony Computer Entertainment America is looking to extend the PlayStation 2 experience online by carrying over equity from offline content. Therefore, all initial PlayStation 2 online gaming applications will be incorporated into packaged software products sold through retail channels nationwide at standard pricing.
In August 2002 the company plans to release the Network Adaptor for PlayStation 2, a first-of-its kind console connectivity device, for a suggested retail price of $39.99. The Network Adaptor combines a 10/100Ethernet connection with a 56KV.90 analog modem that will allow network access to a wide spectrum of consumers regardless of their broadband or narrowband connectivity preferences.
Use of the Network Adaptor allows consumers simultaneous access and connection to multiple devices in the home through PlayStation 2. The Network Adaptor for PlayStation 2 allows users to connect to a broadband network such as CATV or DSL and to analog telephone lines at the same time. These capabilities allow for immediate access to online games available to a wide audience on PlayStation 2.
Network Adaptor Start-Up Disc
As part of its open-market, consumer-centric approach, Sony Computer Entertainment America plans to include, in addition to the Network Adaptor, a bundled disc which will consist of start-up instructions, product manual and documentation, connectivity selection through major ISPs, product registration options for those without online connections, and online game demos.
Looking to broaden the PlayStation 2 online gaming experience to as many consumers as possible, Sony Computer Entertainment America entered into relationships with major national ISPs which currently represent more than 11 million subscribers and multiple tiers of service (cable, DSL, narrowband). Connection through Earthlink, AT&T WorldNet® Service, SBC-Prodigy, and Sympatico will be available through the Network Adaptor Start-Up Disc. In addition, the Network Adaptor will support connectivity through other ISPs.
Sony Computer Entertainment America, along with the third party publishing community, plans to offer a variety of PlayStation 2 titles that incorporate network-enabled gaming features at the onset of the Network Adaptor release. The company is in the process of evangelizing to its publishing, content and technology partners to ensure that this initiative is well supported at launch. A list of titles available for the August rollout will be announced in the coming months.
Additionally, the company will commence a Network Beta test program in March 2002 with previously identified PlayStation 2 users to test connectivity, usability and various online games.
"After leading this industry for many years, we know our market and understand our core competencies are consumer-based hardware and in-home entertainment," said Kaz Hirai, president and chief operating officer, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. "The world of online gaming and broadband-based network services, as it currently stands, is not a one-stop experience. Any company entering this space needs strong partners in various business areas to succeed. With the help and support of our partners, whether on the content or technology side, we will be able to offer online console gaming through PlayStation 2 that is consumer friendly, and most important, fun."
With PlayStation 2, Sony Computer Entertainment looks to create and develop a new world of computer entertainment for the broadband era through the fusion of games, music, movies, community, broadcasting, and publishing. Focusing on the always-on broadband networks, the company plans to roll out its full network strategy for PlayStation 2 by offering a wide range of broadband-based interactive entertainment services. More details pertaining to this initiative will be announced at a later date.
About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era. Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.